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Pete Buttigieg’s husband cancels fundraiser at gay bar ‘because it has a dancer pole’

Reiss Smith January 20, 2020
Pete and Chasten Buttigieg smiling / staff at the Dark Lady standing around its dance pole

Pete Buttigieg's husband, Chasten Buttigieg, reportedly cancelled a fundraiser because of this dance pole. (Getty/The Dark Lady)

Pete Buttigieg’s husband Chasten Buttigieg has been accused of cancelling a fundraiser at an LGBT+ nightclub just minutes before it was due to start because they wouldn’t remove a fixed “dancer pole”.

Chasten Buttigieg – who is hoping to become America’s First Husband should Pete be elected as the country’s first openly gay president – was called out by the owner of The Dark Lady, a queer space in Providence, Rhode Island.

“Pete Buttigieg’s husband just cancelled his appearance/fundraise because the ‘gay bar has a dancer pole’ the venue announced in a Facebook post.

“We guess this is what the gay candidate does to the gay community.”

Campaign staff reportedly asked that the venue remove the pole – which is secured to a 20-foot high ceiling – shortly before the event.

Owner Buck Asprinio said that after he declined this request, the event was relocated just 12 minutes before its billed start time.

“It’s just wrong,” he said.

“Here in Rhode Island, we don’t pretend to be someone we’re not. I was undecided on which candidate to support before, but I think this answers the question.”

Staff had been preparing for the event for four hours, and the cancellation came at an estimated cost of $1,000 to the queer venue.

Anthony Derose, who has worked at the club and performed under his drag alter ego Jacqueline DiMera for 13 years, said the incident had also turned him off the Buttigiegs.

“I was so excited to get to meet Pete and Chasten a month ago, but now I’m going to have to find another candidate,” he said.

“For someone who is very passionate about Democratic politics and who was excited for the very first openly gay Democratic candidate for the presidency, it’s disheartening that all of the sudden he doesn’t want to be affiliated.”

Staff at the venue – which has previously hosted events for Hillary Clinton and Barney Frank – said that the Buttigieg campaign “lied” about the decision, claiming the event was being relocated to an upscale hotel because of “space constraints”.

“The Dark Lady has a rated capacity of 198, and the event had only several dozen attendees,” a statement said.

Critics have accused the Buttigiegs of “internalised homophobia”.

Others suggested that any homophobia was structural, arguing that Pete Buttigieg had no choice but to avoid gay “stereotypes” in order to run a “mildly successful campaign”.

A number of media outlets reported that a Buttigieg spokesperson didn’t deny The Dark Lady’s version of events when asked, nor did they offer any other comment. PinkNews has contacted the Pete Buttigieg campaign for comment.

More: 2020 democratic nomination, 2020 presidential election, Chasten Buttigieg, Pete Buttigieg, Rhode Island

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